Wikipedia defines leadership as “the ability of an individual or organisation to lead or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organisations through a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task".

Strategies for Accounting Practice Leadership

Great leaders display outstanding performance in the practice management metrics of:

  • Revenue growth

  • Profit margin enhancement

  • Development of technical excellence

  • Ongoing client satisfaction

  • Staff morale, development, training and tenure

  • The firm’s professional reputation and brand value

Leaders clearly do things differently…and they clearly get superior results.

One of the most important qualities of a great leader of an accounting practice is the ability to get along with people, to show passion, be compassionate and to make others feel good about themselves. This top twelve list will support you in becoming a better leader in your practice that others want to follow.

  • Ask each employee what they most value and consider setting your practice goals to support these important aspects of the lives of your employees. 

  • Help people reach their full potential by recognising when they do something extraordinary and compliment them on their successes. 

  • Distribute a monthly internal practice newsletter to recognise and congratulate the wins of your employees. Staff love to be recognised for their accomplishments and this will instil sense of pride.

  • Communicate with your staff. Good leaders need to also be good communicators. Keeping in touch with the people you are managing is an important aspect of inter-firm relationships. 

  • Host one entertaining activity each second month. Take employees to lunch, to dinner or host an activity outside the office. This will rejuvenate your employees and build loyalty to the organisation. 

  • Build consensus by allowing employees to vote on operational changes within the practice. Your job will be much more effective if you have the support of the people on the front line.

  • Display a positive attitude. Do not allow your emotions to cloud your decisions when faced with a difficult work situation. Remain disciplined and in control. Choose to take a step-by-step approach until the situation is resolved. When your approach isn't working, pause and re-evaluate.

  • Trust your employees to make smart decisions without your interference. Self-esteem is built by allowing others the opportunity to try new things and to be successful.

  • Provide work that is meaningful and that allows your employees the opportunity to stretch and grow and above all, provide the training necessary for implementing a change.

  • Cheer the practice on by announcing on at least a weekly basis, the successes of the previous week. This surge of energy will increase productivity moving forward. 

  • Educate yourself continuously. Being a good leader means being knowledgeable. You can share this information with your employees through conferences, workshops and training sessions.

  • Learn from other accounting firm and industry thought leaders. There are organisations dedicated to helping firm partners, managers and staff to learn and become better leaders. 

“In today’s world people are taking a clear perspective that making the investment in people pays back multiple fold in the risks that you avoid because people know what they’re doing.” Jon Andrews, PWC London. 

Great leadership is all about managing people, enhancing client relationships and being the driver of success in your firm. Come to Smithink’s Young Guns Workshop at the Hilton Surfers Paradise on 29 February and 1 March 2016 to see how to move to the next level, network with your peers and learn from the experienced Smithink team and expert presenters. 

For more information and to register click here. 

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Mark Holton Smithink